Located at 2765 Hyde Street (at Beach) The Buena Vista Café is one of The City’s longest continuously operating
business (during Prohibition it became an Ice Cream Parlor) and is as rich in history as The City itself.
It was a cold and foggy night in the early 50’s when The Buena Vista Café met its fate and changed the course of
history. Here’s the story…
The Buena Vista Café Irish Coffee Story
The historic venture started on the night of November 10, 1952. Jack Koeppler, then owner of the Buena Vista,
challenged international travel writer Stanton Delaplane to help re-create a highly-touted “Irish Coffee” served at
Shannon Airport in Ireland. Intrigued, Stan accepted Jack’s invitation. Throughout the night the two of them stirred and
sipped judiciously and eventually acknowledged two recurring problems. The taste was ‘not quite right’ and the cream
would not float – but Jack was undaunted. The restaurateur pursued the elusive elixir with religious fervor, even making
a pilgrimage overseas to Shannon Airport.
Upon Jack’s return, the problem of the bottom-bent cream was taken to San Francisco’s mayor, a prominent dairy
owner. It was discovered that when the cream was aged for 48 hours and frothed to a precise consistency, it would
float as delicately as a swan on the surface of Jack’s and Stan’s special nectar.
Success was theirs! Soon the fame of the Buena Vista’s Irish Coffee spread throughout the land.
While it remains a favorite of the locals, The Buena Vista Café has seen movie stars and sports stars, the ragged and
the rich and has been featured in films and TV. Still serving those bountiful meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner as
well as our famous Irish Coffee, The Buena Vista Café has become as much a tradition in San Francisco as sourdough
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